The elements are all there: a tart herbal opening, a well-rendered floral heart, atop a rich warm base of resins. A classically inspired floral oriental that stays true to the house's penchant for subtlety, TOLU is akin to an orchestral symphony played at barely-there, elevator-level volume with the control knob missing. Like biting into giant whopper of a burger that is a couple of beef patties short. Or spying a languid titillating striptease act from a coin-operated viewing box and running out of change.
In other words, hugely unsatisfying.
The opening of Tolu is pleasant, warm, cozy, slightly floral on a mellow bed of resins halfway boozy, ambery and powdery; I get a balsamic accord, something musky and vanillic-anisic quite sweet and dusty, woods, spices (saffron?). Basically a sort of really balmy, ambery powdery scent with a bold exotic feel, halfway gourmand and balsamic, warm and thick but also gentle, at the same time invigorating, rich, refined and much pleasant to wear (at least initially). It reminds me quite a bit of musky-powdery scents (like Teint de Neige by Villoresi, or His Majesty Jaipur Homme), just less plushy and more dark, more woody and more boozy-resinous. Somehow close to Sheldrake’s style and favourite notes too. So, anyway, really pleasant... for a hour or so, then it basically “collapses” and half of its personality just vanishes away, thus becoming a still pleasant, yet much generic and light woody-resinous scent with a salty aftertaste, vaguely balsamic and a bit ambery, more dry and far more tamed down than the opening. Somehow the same smell, but emptied from any tasty richness – like a duller hologram. After a couple of hours it’s even worse, as you remain with just a light ambery thingy. It’s nice overall, but in my opinion it makes more promises than it can actually honor.
Tolu is powdery sweet amber and opopanax composition, seasoned with a potpourri of spices as it ages on the skin. It’s beautiful and well-blended, but for the price it can’t hold a candle to Diptyque’s far more complex Eau Lente, or even Boucheron’s Jaipur Homme EdP. In short, a very well-made, high quality, but ultimately boring fragrance from Ormonde Jayne.
The sharp, green herbal opening of juniper and clary sage certainly got my attention.
The rose and muguet seem to only underscore the heavy orchid scent.
Coming through most strongly in the dry down is the amber, supported by frankincense, tonka and tolu.
It all adds up to a pleasant scent, which can in whiffs remind one of the complex older classics of the 20s, 30s and 40s - though this is quite a light take on those rich blends.
Not bad, not great, just nice.
If you enjoy rich, spicy, smooth and creamy scents with some sweetness, you will not be disappointed. For me this is an incredibly familiar scent that is both comforting and sensual, in every sense of the word. If you have ever spent time in the Canadian wilderness, the opening evokes the aromatic spiciness of the Boreal forest, as well as the amber and floral sweetness of rose and lily of the valley. This woody oriental is airy and profound at the same time, beautiful, just like walking into a clearing and seeing a stag illuminated through the trees for a moment, until he gone back into the forest again.